By Glenn Davis
A horror barrier draw won’t deter trainer David Vandyke from starting Melbourne spring contender Asharani at Doomben on Saturday.
Asharani will jump from the outside gate 11 and will be ridden by premier jockey Jeff Lloyd in the QTIS-Three-Year-Old Fillies Handicap (1200m).
Vandyke has a huge opinion of Asharani and has big plans mapped out for her in Melbourne including the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude later this month before the Group 1 Thousand Guineas at Caulfield on October 13.
The daughter of I Am Invincible also may be entered for the Group 1 Myer Classic at Flemington and Group 1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in October.
“If she’s worthy of a trip to Melbourne for those races then she should still perform well from a disappointing draw,” Vandyke said.
“Naturally, I would have preferred a better draw but she’s working well and is fit enough to run well first-up.
“At this stage she’ll go to Melbourne for the Thousand Guineas Prelude then the Thousand Guineas and we’ll see how she goes from there but I’d like to see her progress down there.”
Vandyke admits he’s unsure of Asharani’s distance range and will be guided by her Melbourne performances.
Asharani was never troubled winning by nearly three lengths at her only start in an open two-year-old race at Ipswich in July.
“I won’t know until she runs in the Guineas races whether she is looking to step up in distance or go back,” he said.
Vandyke was delighted when Lloyd accepted the offer to partner Asharani in the south.
“It’s great to have him on,” he said.
“He’s ridden Asharani in most of her trials and he’s got a very good opinion of her.”
Asharani’s stablemate Miss Quaintly will accompany Asharani to Melbourne and is being aimed at the Group 1 Victoria Oaks at Flemington in November.
Asharani and Miss Quaintly are both owned by Phoenix Thoroughbreds who are relatively new players in Australian racing.
Phoenix Thoroughbreds is a global funds management company which was formed in 2017 and has offices in Dubai, London and the United States.
It has $25 million in bloodstock in stables in the United States, Europe, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.
Asharani was bought for $440,000 at the Inglis Easter sales in Sydney while Miss Quaintly cost her owners $280,000 as a yearling.
Racing Queensland webnews September 6